Researchers were able to create the most accurate map of Antarctica without ice up to date. The achievement was reached with the help of data from radar, imaging and predictions.
The map shows the land beneath the ice sheets, along with the mountains and canyons present in the region, and it helps scientists predict the effects of global warming on the continent.
Glaciologists say this is the most precise map of Antarctica ever created, revealing the layout of the land under the ice. The project helped them determine which regions are more vulnerable to melting as our planet warms. Even more, experts were able to predict which glaciers have land underneath them, whet the layout of the land is, and what impact it will have on the ice above.
One of the most interesting discoveries was that the canyon below Denman Glacier in the Eastern portion of the continent is deeper than predicted. The Denman canyon is 3.500 meters below sea level, being the lowest point on land not covered by liquid water.
Professor Mathieu Morlighem, the lead author of the study, said: “Older maps suggested a shallower canyon, but that wasn’t possible; something was missing’, says lead author, Professor Mathieu Morlighem. With conservation of mass, by combining existing radar survey and ice motion data, we know how much ice fills the canyon – which, by our calculations, is 3,500 meters below sea level, the deepest point on land. Since it’s relatively narrow, it has to be deep to allow that much ice mass to reach the coast.”
The team of researchers used ice thickness information from 19 different research institutes dating back more than 50 years, along with predictions and multiple studies that helped them come up with the best version of the map.